ProFlowers and Carbonite are nursing their PR wounds this morning.
The companies advertised on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. After Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” for supporting birth control, advertisers started fleeing from the toxic host. ProFlowers and Carbonite stuck by him at first, issuing statements that provoked even more criticism.
The flower delivery site and online data backup company pulled their ads, but they’re still smarting from the PR bruising they suffered on various social media sites.
Fluke appeared at an event organized by Democrats on Feb. 23 and talked about the importance of government-required healthcare plans covering birth control.
On Wednesday, Limbaugh called her a “slut,” “prostitute,” and “feminazi,” and suggested she make a sex tape and post it online for everyone to watch.
On Saturday, he apologized
for his “insulting word choice.”
The apology has done little to stanch the flow of criticism toward Limbaugh. The same can be said of statements issued by ProFlowers and Carbonite.
By Friday afternoon, many of the companies that advertise on “The Rush Limbaugh Show” had responded to a boycott and pulled their ads. On the Facebook pages of ProFlowers
, and via Twitter, calls for action and angry remarks mounted.
On Friday, Carbonite CEO David Friend issued a statement
in which he said he, too, was offended by Limbaugh’s statement and planned to meet face-to-face with him to address his concerns. There was nothing about pulling its ads.
The statement backfired and on Saturday, Friend issued this statement:
“No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show.
“We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”
As of Sunday evening, ProFlowers had yet to be as assertive as Carbonite. On Thursday evening, it tried to distance itself from Limbaugh with this update
on its Facebook page:
“We would like to assure you that we do not endorse the views expressed by Rush Limbaugh. We understand your concerns and value your feedback”
ProFlowers became a larger target for criticism than other advertisers, with online community UltraViolet launching a petition
urging the company to pull its ads because the company caters mostly to women.
On Sunday, ProFlowers released a statement
indicating it would “suspend” advertising with Limbaugh. While some commenters applauded the company’s move, others saw it as little more than a Band-Aid.
“Make your values mean something by permanently dumping Rush,” said one comment, which reflected the tenor of many of the remarks to the “suspension.”
Only a couple of companies have yet to pull their ads from Limbaugh. You can see a list of Limbaugh advertisers here
Limbaugh is known for his offensive and incendiary comments (you can read some of his most offensive comments here
), but his remarks about Fluke could be his undoing, for a time at least. It is an election year and even conservatives are distancing themselves from the host—even some Republican lawmakers who, as the Christian Science Monitor
pointed out, apologized to Limbaugh when he slammed them for not being conservative enough.